tv PBS News Hour PBS November 29, 2010 5:30pm-6:30pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: good evening. i'm gwen ifill. the obama administration today strongly condemned the leaking and publication of a huge cache of secret state department documents by the organization wikileaks. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we assess the diplomatic damage with former national security advisors zbigniew brzezinski and stephen hadley. >> ifill: then ray suarez talks to jason beaubien of npr about the violent protests arising from allegations of fraud following yesterday's elections in haiti. >> woodruff: margaret warner looks at the case of a somali- american man charged in a terror bomb plot in portland, oregon. >> ifill: and tom bearden tells the story of a treasure trove of bones dating back to the ice age.
>> ifill: diplomatic ripples were felt around the world today over the contents of previously secret government documents which appeared to expose a wide range of internal conflict and debate. it was the third huge disclosure of confidential material by wikileaks, an organization devoted to revealing government secrets. this time a quarter of a million diplomatic papers and cables were released oreaked to several publications. white house and state department officials reacted strongly, warning that the disclosures put lives at risk and weakened u.s. diplomacy. >> let's be clear. this disclosure is not just an attack on america's foreign policy interests. it is an attack on the international community. the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard
global security and advance economic prosperity. now i'm aware that some may mistakenly applaud those responsible, so i want to set the record straight. there is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations. >> ifill: president obama with not comment on the issue in public today but he ordered government agencies to review the way they handle sensitive information. t latest leaks are suspected to be the work of a former intelligence analyst and army private bradley manning. he's already in military custody over previous wikileaks disclosures. attorney general eric holder said there will be nor prosecutions to come. >> we have an active, ongoing criminal investigation with regard to this matter. we are not in a position as
yet to announce the result of that investigation. but the investigation is ongoing. >> ifill: the man behind weeky leaks is australian citizen julian asaj who has rejected multiple appeals to keep the material secret. >> i'm a combative person. i like crushing. it is deeply personally deeply satisfying to me. >> ifill: many of the most sensitive cables in the new batch dealt with the potential nuclear threat from iran. nervous arab leaders were quoted as pleading with the u.s. to take military action before iran builds a bomb. the british newspaper the guardian reported that saudi arabia's king abdullah repeated urged the u.s. to cut off the head of the snake meaning iran. in another cable, the foreign minister of the united arab emirates said the threat from al qaeda would be minor if iran has nukes. today iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad called the leaks an organized effort by the u.s. to create trouble
between iran and its arab neighbors. >> it looks like an intelligence and psychological war and has no legal value. definitely it won't have the political impact in the way that they pursue definitely nations are aware. such a game will have no effect in relations. >> ifill: on the other hand, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu said it's clear the arab world agrees with israel's assessment that iran represents a serious global threat. >> there is a gap between what leaders say in closed meetings and what is said publicly especially in our region. >> ifill: north korea which already has nuclear weapons also drew considerable attention in the documents, some of which focused on the chaos that could arise if the communist government collapses. other documents focused on yemen and that country's alleged complicity with u.s. missile strikes at suspected al qaeda militants. in one message yemeny
president told u.s. general david petraeus, we'll continue saying the bombs are ours not yours. other cables went to u.s. diplomats at the united nations who were urged to collect detailed information on secretary general ban-ki moon and other international diplomats. the state department in response today dismissed any allegations of diplomatic spying. the internal cables also contained candid, unflattering, and distinctly undiplomatic references to world leaders. russian prime minister putin was mockingly called the alpha dog. french president sarkozy was dubbed the emperor with no clothes. and afghan president karzai was described as driven by paranoia. in kabul today, karzai's spokeman offered a muted reaction. >> so far as the contents relating to afghanistan and
the leaks concerned there is not much in the document that might surprise us, and we don't see anything substantive in the document that will strain the relationships. >> ifill: the russian foreign minister traveling today in india also played down any fallout. >> well, this of course makes for amusing reading. on the one hand it widens our knowledge of human potential but in politics we prefer to be guided by the specific deeds of our partners. we will continue in the future to use this criteria. >> ifill: but u.s. leaders of both parties predicted diplomatic repercussions. they spoke on sunday talk shows hours before the wikileaks release. >> leaking the material is deplorable. i agree with the pentagon's assessment that the people at wikileak could have blood on their hands. >> the people who are leaking these documents need to do a gut check about their patriotism. >> ifill: secretary clinton suggested today that other
governments are not all that offended. >> in my conversations at least one of my counterparts said to me, well, don't worry about it. you should see what we say about you. so i think that is well understood in the diplomatic community as part of the give-and-take. >> ifill: in the meantime, the obama administration is bracing for yet another wikileaks document dump probably during the next several months. >> woodruff: for more on all of this, we turn to two former national security advisors with extensive experience in making and carrying out u.s. foreign policy. zbigniew brzezinski served under president jimmy carter. he's now a counselor at the center for strategic and international studies. stephen hadley served under president george w. bush. he's now with the united states institute of peace, and is an international business consultant. gentlemen, good to have you both with us. so secretary clinton said today she is confident that this will not have long-lasting
do permanent damage to u.s. relations with other countries. stephen hadley, do you agree with her? is she right about that? >> in one sense, yes. i think in the short run it will have very deleterious effects. one is confidential communications between our government and other governments are important in terms of making policy. if we cannot keep the secret and the confidences of other governments, they will be reluctant to share their inner most thoughts with us. it also is corrupting because our people in diplomatic posts overseas want to be able to give their candid assessments about people with whom they're dealing in their countries up to u.s. leadership. it's important to inform the president, secretary of state. they will now be reluctant to be as candid in the reporting cables for fear that it will become public and harm their relationship with the country so it's very corrupting of the process of confidence in which
our diplomacy depends both internally and with other governments. >> woodruff: dr. brzezinski, what do you think the fallout is going to be? >> well, the best assessment i can give is to cite a phrase which used to be used very often in vienna when it was the capital of the aus throw hungarian empire. when a crisis would take place, it would be said it's catastrophic but not serious. this is the way i look at. i think steve has put his finger on it by saying that some things will pass. of course some things will endure. but i think the most serious issues are not those which are getting the headlines right now. who cares if the prime minister of italy described as a clown. most italians agree with that. who cares if putin is described as an alpha dog? he's probably satisfied with that. the real question is who is feeding wikileaks on this
issue? they're getting a lot of information which seems trivial, inconsequential but some of it seems surprisingly pointed. >> woodruff: what are you referring to? >> well, for example, the references to a report about our officials that some chinese leaders favor a reunified korea under south korea. this is clearly designed to embarrass the chinese and our relationship with them. the very pointed references to arab leaders could house their objective undermining their political credibility at home. because this kind of public identification of their hostility towards iran could actually play against them at home. >> woodruff: and i want to ask you about that because the impression is-- and i want to turn to steve hadly on this as well-- saudi arabia has not been public about its view. we heard the quote from king abdullah that the u.s. or isael should go after iran. and its nuclear weapons
program. so what effect could this have now that that's out there that it's confirmed. >> actually i don't think that's new. a lot of people have been saying without going into details and without going into these sort of sensational quotes that the arab states are very concerned about iran. very concerned about the impact of a nuclear iran. people have been saying that's one of the odd things about how israel and the arab states actually have common cause about their concern about iran. so i think the fact that there is concern is not new. but unfortunately the way it is expressed with these, you know, very headline-grabbing phrases, that's what's unfortunate. that's what's embarrassing. that's what may make people a little bit less candid in their communications in the future. >> woodruff: what are you worried about with regard to the knowledge.... >> it's not a question of worry. it's rather a question of whether wikileaks are being manipulated by interested
parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other golfs or want to undermine some governments. because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed. i wonder whether, in fact, there aren't some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to wikileaks. bach it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position but also to undermine our relations with particular governments. for example, leaving aside the personal gossip about sarkozy or putin, the business about the turks. it's clearly calculated in terms of its potential impact on disrupting the american- turkish relationship. >> woodruff: criticizing the people. >> the top leaders, and so forth, are using some really really very sharp language. >> woodruff: but this is
250... it's a quarter of a million documents. how easy would it be to feed this to make sure it was slanted. >> seeding it is very easy. i have no doubt that wikileaks is getting a lot of the stuff from relatively unimportant sources like the one that perhaps is identified on the air. but it may be getting stuff at the same time from interested intelligence parties who want to manipulate the process and achieve certain, very specific objectives. >> woodruff: do you have that concern? >> obviously it would always be a concern. what we know or what has been said publicly is it looks like a data dump through a pretty junior-level person. so in terms of that material it looks like a data dump. generally in washington i've had the rule that if there are two explanations, one is conspiracy and one is incompetence, you ought to go with incompetence. you'll be right 90% of the time. but you can't rule out what dr. brzezinski talked about. if not in the past in terms of
how we got here, it would be interesting and now having heard this i suspect there will be some intelligence services thinking about maybe we could seed in these data dumps something would be useful. you can't rule it out. it has the appearance at this point of a core dump. for some reon people get a thrill out of leaking classified documented. it's never, you know, whether it's a sense of self-importance, but i think it's more likely in terms of the volume that that's what's at work. but you can't rule out particularly going forward the kind of thing dr. brzezinski is talking about. >> the other foreign intelligence services don't have to wait for me to make that suggestion. i think they can think of it themselves particularly after the first instance. >> woodruff: what effect do you think this will have though on the willingness of foreign-- whether it's leaders, diplomats-- to talk candidly with americans about their views? is this going to afeblgt that? >> well, i haven't seen
anything in it that is really going to affect serious issues that would be constrained in direct talks. it's the morrison sagsal impacting items that can have a political significance. i find that more significant. beyond that, of course, there is a second problem which i think is serious in this otherwise non-catastrophic situation. namely it's an absolute scandal that this is now happening again. you know, the head of the bureau of the budget has issued an instruction to all the heads of departments to the effect that they must safeguard classified information. any failure is unacceptable. it will not be tolerated. well this is the second instance. i would like to know what the administration has done since the first to make the second one less likely. >> woodruff: a lot of these documents have been in the hands... haven't they been in the hands of wikileaks for some time because of this private who is in jail and accused? army private? >> we don't know. what dr. brzezinski is talking about i think also shows one of the dilemmas in all of
this. one of the things you like to do is to get information that would be useful to people in the field out to the field. and that means fairly widespread distribution. after things like this, there is an effort usually a reaction, understandable, to narrow down the distribution. that could have the effect of denying information to people who could use it in their jobs day to day. so just exactly... this is the challenge. how do you try to limit the risk of this kind of activity in a way going forward while still making this information available to those who can use it particularly in the field in their day-to-day activities. >> woodruff: what about asking diplomats in essence to spy? i mean, we've learned now that secretary clinton before her secretary rice were asking diplomats to collect confidential information: credit cards and so forth on foreign diplomats. you're smiling. >> yes. because, look. diplomats are supposed to be
reporting. they're not supposed to shut their eyes and close their ears. >> woodruff: doesn't that blur the line? >> they're not asked to do anything that is really a violation of the laws but if they can obtain some information regarding key individuals, i see nothing wrong with it provided it doesn't become a major task or a significant assignment. >> woodruff: and... but on balance you're not worry that this changes the level of candor in diplomatic.... >> do you foreigners are not doing that? >> i'm worried about the heads of state having their communications compromised and how willing they'll be willing to talk candidly going forward. quite frankly there's a difference between getting information from diplomats. of course, that's what you have diplomats out there for is to get you all kinds of information. you want to know the background of the people you're dealing with. that's different than stealing secrets. that's what your intelligence services do. i don't think there's a line here that's been crossed. >> woodruff: stephen hadley,
gig knew brzezinski thank you both. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, the political turmoil after haiti's elections; a home- grown terror plot in oregon; and the discovery of ancient bones in colorado. but first, with the other news of the day, here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: an afghan policeman turned his gun on american troops in eastern afghanistan today and killed six. the gunman was killed in turn. it happened during a nato training mission in the province of nangarhar, along the border with pakistan. there have been a string of incidents over the last year involving afghan police who opened fire on their trainers. in iran, one nuclear scientist was killed and another was wounded in twin bombings in tehran. iranian police said assassins on motorcycles stuck magnetic bombs to the scientists' cars as they drove to work. the bombs went off seconds later. no one claimed responsibility, but president mahmoud ahmadinejad said the attacks were foreign plots against iran's nuclear program.
>> without any doubt in the assassinations which took place today western countries and the zionist regime israel were involved. i hope security officials immediately arrest them and present them to the people. >> sreenivasan: ahmadinejad insisted the nuclear program would go forward, and that iran would get retribution. egypt was swept by demonstrations and riots today after opposition parties claimed widespread fraud in sunday's elections. the opposition said most of its candidates for parliament were defeated because the ruling party rigged the vote. that brought thousands into the streets to protest, even though the official results aren't due until tomorrow. the muslim brotherhood, an islamic fundamentalist group, said it may lose nearly all of its 88 seats. there were new tensions in the standoff between north and south korea. south korean president lee myung-bak warned the north will pay a "dear price" if it attacks his country again. he said he was outraged by north korean shelling that killed four people last week. also today, u.s. and south korea warships carried out joint naval
exercises in the yellow sea. the north called that a "grave military provocation." summit representatives from nearly 200 nations began meeting in cancun, mexico, today at a united nations conference on climate ghange. the u.n. wants to extend curbs on greenhouse gas emissions and to begin negotiating the next set of protocols. the talks have been stymied for three years. poorer countries say they ll only move forward with greener measures if the united states and emerging giants china and india agree to binding cuts in emissions. congress has returned to washington to wind up its lame- duck session. the senate planned a vote this evening on ramping up safety inspections in the food industry. lawmakers also faced decisions on extending the bush-era tax cuts as well as benefits for the long-term unemployed. it was unclear if there will be votes to repeal the military's ban on gays or on a new treaty with russia to cut nuclear weapons. president obama called today for congress to freeze pay for all civilian federal employees for two years. the move could save the government morehan $5 blion. it would not affect military
pay. the president said getting the deficit under control will take "broad sacrifice." >> in these challenging times we want the best and brightest to join and make a difference. but these are also times where all of us are called on to make some sacrifices. i'm asking civil servants to do what they've always done. play their part. >> sreenivasan: the president also said he's recovering nicely after having a dozen stitches in his lower lip on friday. he was hit by an elbow during a pickup basketball game. wall street was down sharply for much of the day, but rallied late to make up most of the lost ground. the dow jones industrial average ended with a loss of 39 points to close at 11,052. the nasdaq fell nine points to close at 2525. shares of irish banks traded higher today after getting $89 billion in loans from the european union and the international monetary fund. but the political opposition and irish taxpayers criticized a key condition of the loans. it said ireland must use $22 billion of its cash and pension reserves to shore up
public finances. the e.u. and the i.m.f. said it's a good deal under the circumstances. a retired electrician has come forward in france with 271 never-been-seen before works by pablo picasso. the former handyman worked for picasso. he said today the artist's second wife gave him paintings, sketches, and other works. he said he kept them in a trunk for decades. >> it's because i had a few operations, and i thought that perhaps it's time to do something about the art so that there won't be a problem for my children, because people will ask where it came from. and it is coming from me, because i worked for the monsieur for years, and i was with the monsieur until his final days. >> sreenivasan: picasso's estate estimates the art is worth more than $50 million. his heirs and lawyers insist the works were stolen. they say the artist would never have given away that much. the u.s. justice department announced a crackdown on web sites selling counterfeit goods and copyrighted works.
federal authorities have seized 82 domain names from commercial sites. most were based in china. they peddled a range of fake brand-name items, from sports equipment to illegal copies of movies and music. veteran actor leslie nielsen died sunday of pneumonia in fort lauderdale, florida. for decades, he played serious roles in movies like "forbidden planet" and "the poseidon adventure." but in 1980, he became a comic star as the deadpan doctor in "airplane!" his best-known line came when a passenger said, "surely, you can't be serious." and nielsen answered: "i am serious, and don't call me 'shirley.'" leslie nielsen was 84 years old. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and to haiti, where long-awaited presidential elections were held this weekend. ray suarez reports. a polling station lay in shambles today as potential political chaos was added to the long list of haiti's woes. any expectations for an orderly, uneventful
presidential and legislative election on sunday were dashed by allegations of vote fraud and disenfranchisement. >> the people believed that they were prevented from voting so they decided it is better to block and destroy the voting center. >> suarez: but electoral officials said just 3% of polling stations experienced problems. >> 56 out of 1,500 voting centers were affected. there were voting sites destroyed and other places where people got in with guns. there were areas where people could not vote because their names were not on the lists. >> suarez: those irregularities led 12 of the 18 candidates vying to replace president to call for the vote to be invalidated even before the polls closed yesterday. much of their ire was directed toward preval's chosen successor who is accused of benefiting from undue official influence. but the government said the
results would stand, and there would be no revote. in the run-up to the election, observers said it was a necessary step toward rebuilding a broken land. >> the political stability, there is need for a new constitutionally elected president next year february. there is a need for a legislative framework that can work together with the executive authorities in dealing with the challenges haiti faces today. >> suarez: but for some haitians the ordeal of daily life made the election an afterthought. >> we have nothing to eat and no place to live. we are so thin that even the air that blows can lift us. from where do we get the strength to go out and vote. >> suarez: thatson. >> seemed widespread. haitians turned out in low numbers for the vote. the first results are due next week and run-offs are expected to take place in january. for more we go to jason beaubien >> warner: for more, we are now joined by maxine bernstein of the "oregonian" newsper who has been reporting on this case
since friday's arrest. what do the international observers and the organization of american states say about how it was carried out. >> they just held a press conference. they basically said, yes, we saw problems. there were issues out there, irregularities. there was even some violence. but they said these allegations of massive fraud, they said the burden is on the candidates who are making these claims that there was massive fraud to prove that. they're basically throwing the ball back in the court of these candidates and saying, you're saying that the elections should be annuled. we're saying they should keep counting the votes, kee moving forward. we did not find massive fraud as you guys are alleging. if it's out there, bring us the proof. >> suarez: they're saying that the election if not perfect was good enough to result in a government? >> they're saying that it was good enough. that in this chaotic country that's still trying to deal with recovering from this massive earthquake with port-au-prince, much of it lying in rubble still, that they did a pretty good job, yes.
there were problems but they did a pretty good job and that they should keep moving forward, count these ballots and keep moving forward with this electoral process. >> suarez: as the president of haiti had anything to say in public yet? >> he hasn't. he's been incredibly absent from the scene around this issue of the elections. you have 18 candidates running for president. 12 of them came out and said that they saw massive fraud. called for protests in the streets. said that they wanted the election annuled. we haven't heard anything from the acting leader. it just plays into the issue of what a power vacuum there is right at the moment. preval has been a lame duck. it was unclear exactly when his term was actually going to end given that his term, that is clear, but when the new candidate would be chosen because we were expecting to have a second round anyway with so many candidates there was probably going to be a run- off. now we have candidates who could be in the run-off saying they're not going to participate in this election. at the same time this country
so desperately needs leadership to deal with the cholera outbreak that continues to rage across the country and to deal with the rebuilding from the incredible earthquake that hit in january. >> suarez: the international community at large insisted that it was a good thing for haiti to go ahead with these elections as promised. are people down there saying now that they were rushed? >> some people are saying that they were rushed. but at the same time the head of the u.n. said if not now, then when? when is haiti not going to be in a state of crisis? this country has lurched from one crisis to another. this year even president rene preval said it was the worst year in haiti's history. so the fear in the international community was that if you put off these elections who knows what haiti will be dealing with in three months and really how much better prepared would it be three months from now? so that was the feeling of the international community. yes, this is what happened.
and the question now is how are these candidates going to come back together somehow and figure out how is this country going to choose its next leader? >> suarez: when you were out and about, what did you see at polling places? did it seem orderly? >> you know, haiti is a chaotic country. every day haiti is fairly chaotic. the polling places reflected that. yes, they started late but they only started an hour late. that's not terrible. people here say haitian time. i wasn't really amazed to see the polls, the voting got going an hour late. yes, there were problems with people not being able to find where they were supposed to vote or not being on the rolls. but overall many people were coming in, voting without problems. i didn't see any violence in the ones that i visited, you know, about half a dozen polling places around the capital. i've seen pictures of some of the other ones that wer trashed but the international community, observers are saying that that was a very small number of the actual polling places that were open
on election day. overall for haiti at this moment in time, things went relatively well. >> suarez: npr's jason beaubien in port-au-prince, thanks for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> ifill: >> ifill: after his arrest in portland, oregon, friday night, another young home-grown terror suspect was in federal court today. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: mohammed osman mohammed's arraignment came three days after he allegedly tried to set off a car bomb in downtown portland. the charge? attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. in washington, u.s. attorney general eric holder made his first public comment on the case. >> we were able to thwart somebody who clearly had the intention by his own words and by his actions to harm a great many people, to do real serious damage to property, to put at risk the lives of american citizens including children. >> warr: the 19-year-old
somali-american was arrested late friday not far from this intersection as he reportedly tried to detonate by cell phone what he thought was a bomb. the bomb had been placed near a crowded christmas tree lighting ceremony in a large public square. federal officials said the f.b.i. had recorded mohammed saying earlier, "i want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured." in fact, the bomb was an elaborate fake, supplied by the f.b.i. in a six-month sting operation. agents first contacted mohammed last june via email posing as an associate of a man he was in touch with overseas. the plot unfolded from there with two undercover agents assisting mohammed. attorney general holder today rejected any suggestion that mohammed was lured into committing illegal acts. >> i am confident that there is no entrapment here, no entrapment claim will be found to be successful.
there were, as i said, a number of opportunities that the subject in this matter, the defendant in this matter, was given to retreat, to take a different path. he chose at every step to continue. >> warner: since mohammed's arrest, leaders in the muslim and somali-american communities in oregon have spoken out to condemn the alleged bomb attempt. but someone set a fire at an islamic center where mohammed had attended services. the f.b.i. began an arson investigation and police stepped up patrols around other islamic sites in the area. >> warner: for more, we are now joined by maxine bernstein of the "oregonian" newspaper who has been reporting on this case since friday's arrest. maxine, welcome. a member of your reporting team was in court today. what can you tell us about it? what was heard from mohammed or his lawyer? >> well, it was a brief court appearance. he appeared for about 15
minutes. he was let in from what i understand with his angles shackled. he wore a light blue shirt and he spoke quietly with his defense attorney and answered the judge's questions very... in a very quiet voice. "yes, your honor." he was arraigned on the one charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. he pleaded not guilty to the charge. it was a packed courtroom. some supporters. there was immediate family and friends and others had to be... couldn't get into the courtroom because there was no more space. but afterwards his federal public defenner... defender questioned whether this 19-year-old man was essentially groomed to do... to commit a crime by federal officials.
he raised the question of whether federal officials had entrapped his client. >> warner: what can you tell us in terms of the picture that's emerged of this young man, mohammed, that's emerged after not only in the affidavit or the criminal complaint which has been out since friday but in the reporting you and others have done with people who have known him. >> well, some reporting from a number of reporters for the oregonian who spent the weekend speaking with friends and family, neighbors, it's a picture of a conflicted young man. he came to this country with his family in the mid '90s. he lived in a suburb of portland, attended school, graduated from high school, was described as a polite, intelligent young man who liked sports, basketball. he started last fall taking courses at oregon state university.
but yet some members of the mosque near the university said they felt he was troubled in recent months. there was evidence at least in the affidavit that was filed in court that he felt somewhat betrayed by his family. there was clear evidence at least from his statements that were recorded by federal officials of his radical beliefs and intent to participate in a violent jihad. so there's this conflict, extreme conflict, between his friends and neighbors who did not necessarily see that side of him. >> warner: what led the f.b.i. to start actually monitoring his emails in i think it was mid 2009. was it as some have reported that his parents said something to authorities? >> well, there are some reports that his father had
contacted the department of homeland security. and there's nothing in the affidavits that referred to that. what we do know is that he was on a no-fly list. he had tried in june of this year to leave oregon and fly and find a fishing job in alaska. he wasn't allowed to. at that time f.b.i. officials interviewed him and learned that he apparently, according to the affidavit, that he intended to obtain money from the fishing job. his prime goal was to travel to yemen afterwards. snacks let me interrupt you because we're almost out of time. i know this is the point of real debate which is from the affidavits, where is the balance between elements of the plot that were supposed to be his idea and what the f.b.i. undercover agents who
eventually befriended him, what they suggested. >> well, according to f.b.i. officials, they gave him several other options along the way. they had been in contact with him since june of 2010. they met in person. they emailed. they had emails with him. these undercover federal informatives were, they say, were giving mr. mohammed several options, other options than this alleged bomb plot. they suggested, for example, that he finish his schooling and use that money to travel overseas in the future. or he could continue praying, et cetera. each step of the way they allege that he was clear on being involved in an operational... having an operational participation in a violent jihad. of course his defense
attorneys are going to work to challenge that and suggest that what f.b.i. officials were doing was grooming him to participate in this plot. >> warner: all right. more to come. maxine bernstein, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: this is pledge week on public television. we'll be back after a short break allowing your public television station to
>> woodruff: finally tonight, the story of a very big and very old find by archaeologists in colorado. newshour correspondent tom bearden reports. >> reporter: for the past month employees of the denver museum of science and nature have been downright giddy. they've been digging up a treasure trove of some 500 bones dating back to the last ice age. >> the table is covered with wrapped-up fossils. >> reporter: the chief curator of the museum says there are
between 45,000 and 125,000 years old. you seem pretty excited. >> i spent the last three weeks up to my knees in mud digging up bones at 9,000 feet in the colorado rockies where it was snowing. it was one of the happiest times of my life. they were finding bones at the rate of one every two to ten minutes. the fossils were pouring out of the ground. almost everything we found was something new. for a period of six days we were finding a new species of animal every day. >> reporter: that short time the scientists discovered a juvenile mammoth, a jefferson sloth. at least five mastadons and a bison skull with a seven-foot horn span. one of the richest single sites ever discovered in colorado and an extremely high altitude. nearly 9,000 feet. >> we know almost nothing about what happened at high elevation during the ice age. that's one of the things that makes this site so cool. not only is it a high elevation but it's a fairly large thickness of sediment that has fossils in it that are pretty well preserved:
it's a crystal clear window back into a time in which we knew nothing at all. >> reporter: it's not just big animal fossils that make it so exciting. >> there's all kinds of plant and insect and invert brat fossils at the site as well that really helps us flush out this eco-system. it's rare to get all of that in one place. normally we piece those things together from different areas but this site the press preservation is so exceptional at this site that we're getting the fawn a and the flora. >> reporter: the first bone was discovered just a month ago by a bulldozer operator working on a reservoir expansion project for the snow mass ski area near aspen. >> he knew that the bones were unusual. one of the foreman on the site brought the bones home and identified on the internet. they called us in the morning. they knew they had something special. >> reporter: the museum immediately dispatched a team of 40 people to work alongside the construction crew to dig out the bones before the winter snowstorms hit. >> the bones had been buried in wet lake sediments since
they were deposited more than 45,000 years ago. that means they come out of the ground wet. some of the bones are solid sponges. we found when you pick the bones up they would drain clear ground water. a leg bone might give you a gallon of water. >> reporter: the scientists quickly wrapped fragile bones in plaster and others in plastic to preserve the moisture. if they try out too fast they shatter. back at the lab, the fossils were unwrapped, photographed, and catalogued. once they've been dried the real studies will begin. >> you can see the growth ring. >> reporter: johnson is particularly excited about the nearly two dozen mammoth and mastadon tusks they've recovered. >> these things have growth rings in them so you can actually tell how old the animal was when it died. the growth rings are put on on such a regular basis you can tell which season of the year the animal died in. the tusks end up being sort of like a tape recorder of the animal's life. you can tell if the female had calves or not if the males had been fighting lots of
interesting thing about the life history of the animal embedded in the growth rings in these tusks. what we'll do is carefully dry the tusks out and section them and they'll tell a story for each animal buried here. >> reporter: johnson says these bones are likely to do more than just provide a look back at the ice age. they could provide clues to the future. >> think about it. the ice age, the end of the ice ages was a time of global warming when we came out of a time of very cold period into a time that was much warmer. we're quite concerned about that right now. the world is warming now. here you have these animals that survived or didn't. a warming at high elevation. one of the things we're concerned about now is what happened plants and animals that live at high elevation as the world warms. a nice analogy for why these animals might be the bearers of some information that could be useful to help us understand our present situation. >> reporter: last week a winter storm forced the denver museum scientists to shut down the site until spring. they'll be back in may when the ground has thawed and the search for ancient bones can
continue. >> ifill: again the major developments of the day. the release of a quarter-million state department documents by wikileaks sent diplomatic ripples around the world. an afghan policeman killed 6 american troops during a training mission. and haiti's opposition groups charged fraud in sunday's presidential vote. and to hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: we've posted a guide to some of the tools available to sift through the wikileaks documents, plus you can watch all of secretary clinton's statement today. on our new science page, watch a report on the challenges of tackling increased acidification of the world's oceans. we get views from both the atlantic and pacific coasts. plus on "art beat," listen to the poem of the week. tonight, the editor of poetry magazine, christian wiman, reads from his work. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org.
>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll be covering the president's meeting with congressional leaders, and a new report on high school drop out rates. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: